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· promise of reigning with him ;" and himself hath omised them a reward, no less than the kingdom of aven. " Ye are the salt of the earth : but if the salt hath lost savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth od for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden der foot by men.” Verse 13. Here Christ sheweth that his followers must season the th, by living a savoury life, and by walking accord. ; to his doctrine, whose doctrine is wonderfully set th in this excellent sermon ; and if we live up to se holy rules, we shall then be serviceable in our genition, and our lives will teach the people as well as r words, and sometimes better too, by how much ex. iple is better than precept; and indeed christians ght to be careful in both ; in life to live holy, and in ords to be sparing, observing to “ Let your words be w and savoury, and seasoned with grace, that they may minister grace to the hearers." Thus should we seain the world, and salt it with the salt of the covenant ; it if we lose this savour of grace, and take a liberty Chich Christ and his truth do not allow of, of speaking
random things which are not convenient nor edifying, it altogether unsavoury ; then, according to our masr, which is in heaven, we are good for nothing, but to
cast out (i. e. out of the church), and then we shall be ampled upon by men, as in truth we deserve : not that ir bodies are to be killed or destroyed; for the door of je church is always open to receive true penitents. But ir this end and good purpose we are chastened of the ord, that the soul may be saved in the day of the Lord. ind those who know godly sorrow for their sins, and arning from the evil of their ways, by amendment of fe, those Christ forgives, and adviseth his church to do he same, saying, “ If he repent forgive him ;" which re. entance is best manifested by a new life, and holy nd blameless conversation ; for words, without works, re good for nothing, but to be trodden under foot of nen.
“ Ye are the light of the world: a city set on a hill cannot be hid.” Verse 14.
True and faithful christians are indeed as stars in God's firmament, which are of excellent use to people in the night season, and more especially when they are not clouded, and in a particular manner to those who travel on the seas, for when they have not seen the sun for a season, then they are good guides to the seafaring man; and likewise in the wilderness on the land ; and this world is like a wilderness, and like the troubled sea, to some poor souls; and then good men, and good women, are serviceable, to reprove and instruct in righteousness : “ Such (says Daniel the prophet) shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars, for ever and ever.” And these are like a city set upon a hill
, which cannot be hid.
“ Neither do men light a candle, and set it under a bushel ; but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house." Verse 15.
Mortal men, when divinely enlightened by the grace and spirit of Christ, ought to exert themselves to their master's glory, and excite others, and stir them up to their duty; and to endeavour, as much as in them lies, to promote the kingdom and interest of our dear Lord; for men are God's candles, as the scripture saith, “ The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord;" and this candle is often lighted by Christ, who “ Lighteth every man that cometh into the world." John i. 9. and is the true light of the great Father of lights. The great and good end of Christ's lighting man's spirit, and illuminating him with divine light, is, that he may shine out to others, in a good conversation, and a holy life, which is both serviceable to others, and himself also ; and answers the end of him who enlightened him by the fire of his word, o with a coal from his holy altar ; being thus lighted and walking in it (as the nations of them that are saved, shall walk in the light of the Lamb.) Here all the house, ar society, is truly lighted by such lights; and those who have received greater gifts, or degrees of divine light from Christ, than some others, and may have a larger share of natural or acquired parts, ought not to “ Hide it (as our Lord phrases it) under a bushel, but put it (in its proper place, or) on a candlestick ;” and as the candle is of lit. tle use when it is put out, therefore we ought to be very careful to keep to watchfulness and prayer, that it be kept lighted in time of darkness ; for “ The candle of the wicked is often put out.”
“ Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Verse 16.
Since there is a bright and shining nature and quality in the holy lives of Christ's servants, and in the conversation of his faithful followers, therefore it should and ought to be manifest, and to appear before men; our lamp should be burning, and our light shining; and we should take care to keep holy oil in our vessels, that therewith our lamps may be supplied, otherwise folly instead of wisdom will appear in our conversations, which will be a hindrance (when our great bridegroom cometh) to our entrance into life, or God's kingdom, and greatly hindereth our Master's glory, which by all means we are to endeavour the furtherance of : and men generally take more notice of our evil works, and, when an evil
is open, will sooner see them, than our good ones; so that we had need to be very careful, and keep a holy watch in our conversations, that our light may so shine, as that our Father who is in heaven may be glorified, in our bringing forth much good fruit.
“ Think not that I am come to destroy the law or prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Verse 17.
“ For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Verse 18.
The excellency of the dispensation of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ is really wonderful ! having no manner of tendency toward destroying the law of God given by Moses ; for Christ's doctrine comes up through it, fulfils it, and goes beyond it, in perfection, and in the beauty of holiness, and in the life and power of pure religion.
“ The law, (saith the apostle) is a schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ;” and no man can come truly to Christ, nor be in him, or be a new creature, without coming through the law, and keeping the commandments; but these commandments are to be distinguished from the superstitious traditions, and ceremonious customs of the Jews. The scribes and pharisees (who though they sat in Moses' seat) did not do as Moses did; but crucified him whom Moses prophesied of, saying, “ The Lord your God shall raise up a prophet from among your brethren, like unto me, unto him shall ye hearken.” Christ and his disciples teach the law, though not the traditions of the Jews; who were very careful of their small tithes, of their own interest, though but of, or in small things, neglecting the weighty matters of the law, which is in no wise to be passed by, but to be ful. filled while heaven and earth endure.
Now the law and commandments which our Lord spoke of, are generally understood to be those ten commandments recorded in the 20th chapter of Exodus, with other absolute commands written by Moses (distinguished from the Jews traditions) and such as were general to mankind: for Christ is the general Saviour, both of the Jews, and also of the gentiles, who believe in, and obey him: and that those commandments may the more be minded, and taken notice of, and imprinted in people's thoughts, they are here, in part, transcribed out of the 20th chapter of Exodus.
" I. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth : thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain : for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
IV. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
V. Honour thy father and thy mother : that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
VI. Thou shalt not kill. VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery. VIII. Thou shalt not steal. IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy ighbour. X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, nor s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor s ox, nor his ass; nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." All which our holy Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled in his vn person, and taught it to the people, as this his most »ly sermon will witness abundantly: and all who pross his great name, must, and ought to teach the same.
" Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least mmandments, and teach men so, he shall be called the ast in the kingdom of heaven ; but whosoever shall do id teach them, the same shall be called great in the ngdom of heaven.” Verse 19.
Here we are strictly enjoined, as we value our reputaon in heaven, both to do, and to teach, the commandents, and law of Moses; though not the ordinances, ommandments, or traditions, of the scribes. Now the cribes and pharisees taught divers good things in words, 3 we understand by Christ, “ But (says he) be ye not ke unto them; for they say, and do not :' example eing often of more force and power than precept: they light have said as some of our modern scribes do, to the eople, “ You must not do as we do; but do as we say:' but, according to Christ, this will not serve their turn; or he shuts the gates of heaven against all them (and all uch) though his own hearers, as in the next verse.
“ For I say unto you, except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven." Verse 20.
Those scribes and pharisees had a righteousness, but it was one of their own making, an outside one only; whereas, within they were full of deceit and hypocrisy; they cried up righteousness in words, and yet cried out against him who taught it in the greatest purity, and sought his destruction ; they were notable examples to all persecutors for religion. Our Lord, and his servants,